Singapore has announced they will temporarily freeze ticket sales for its travel lane program, which allowed vaccinated travelers from select countries including the United States and Canada to visit without a two-week quarantine.
This post will look at the latest travel restrictions in Singapore and other Asian countries.
Singapore Will Freeze Tickets For Vaccinated Travel Lane Program Until January 20th
In October, Singapore extended its ‘vaccinated travel lane’ program to travelers from the U.S., Canada, and several European countries.
The program allowed vaccinated travelers from select countries to visit Singapore without a two-week quarantine if they applied for a travel pass and entered via a designated vaccinated travel lane flight.
Singapore announced today that it will freeze ticket sales for flights and bus trips under its vaccinated travel lanes for entry from December 23rd to January 20th. The move is being made in an effort to try and reduce imported cases of the Omicron variant, which is causing new travel restrictions around the world.
The new restrictions apply to all 24 countries that Singapore has agreements with for quarantine-free air travel, as well as overland bus services with Malaysia.
Travelers who already have tickets and meet all other travel lane requirements will still be allowed to visit Singapore under the quarantine-free travel scheme.
The Ministry of Health said that Singapore will also temporarily reduce quotas and ticket sales for travel after January 20th.
In a separate release, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said that total ticket sales on vaccinated travel lane flights into Singapore after January 21st will be capped at 50 percent of the allocated quota.
The capacity and ticket sales for land travel into Singapore or Malaysia from January 21st next year will also be cut by half, which is equivalent to 24 one-way bus rides per day.
The move will help limit Singapore's exposure to imported Omicron COVID-19 cases, said the ministry.
“Our border measures will help to buy us time to study and understand the omicron variant, and to strengthen our defences, including enhancing our healthcare capacity, and getting more people vaccinated and boosted,” the ministry said in a statement.
Singapore is one of the most vaccinated places in the world, with 96% of those eligible and 87% of the population overall fully inoculated. One-third of the population has received a booster shot, but Omicron cases are still rising.
“We are picking up more Omicron cases because of the rapid spread of the variant across many countries/regions,” said the Ministry Of Health.
“With aggressive contact tracing and ringfencing measures, we have, for now, been able to limit onward community transmission. But it is a matter of time before the Omicron variant spreads in our community,” it added.
More Countries In Asia Adding Restrictions Over Omicron
Omicron has fast become the dominant Covid-19 strain in many countries since it emerged about a month ago.
Singapore is the latest country in Asia to suspend reopening efforts in an attempt to buy time.
In late November, Japan banned entry from foreign nationals and imposed a managed quarantine on returning nationals.
Thailand announced yesterday that it will be suspending its quarantine-free entry program this week.
New Zealand also announced yesterday that it would delay reopening its borders with Australia to the end of February.
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